Seven Lakes High School
Project of Distinction Winner 2006 Education Design Showcase

Project Fact Sheet
Facility Use: K-12 High
Project Type: New Construction
Category: Whole Building/Campus Design
Location: Katy, TX
District/Inst.: Katy Independent School District
   Dr. Leonard Merrell Superintendent
Completion Date: December 2005
Design Capacity: 3,000 students
Enrollment: 850 students
Gross Area: 513,066 sq.ft.
Space per pupil: 204 sq.ft.
Site size: 125 acres
Cost per student: $25,808
Cost per sq.ft.: $126.20
Total project cost: $77,424,700
Building construction cost: $63,091,000
Site purchase cost: $2,500,000
Furniture & equipment cost: $4,900,000
Fees and other: $3,606,000
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Built in the rapidly growing Katy Independent School District, Seven Lakes High School and Ninth Grade Center is the sixth high school and the second modified repeat of the existing Cinco Ranch High School. While similar to its predecessor, the new high school has been modified and altered according to changes in the district’s instructional program, end-user suggestions and revisions to facility standards. Additionally, the exterior elevations have been modified to provide the campus its own, unique community image and identity.

The 613,066 square-foot campus includes a new junior high, as well as the new high school. The master plan has been designed and constructed utilizing similar materials and design elements to create a campus-like environment, constructed on an undeveloped 125 acre site in the southwest corner of the Katy ISD. The location was selected based on demographic projections as part of the district’s Long Range Facilities Plan in anticipation of the development of a new major neighborhood subdivision. Because the site was undeveloped and construction of the high school began prior to the surrounding developments, there were numerous challenges regarding the extension of utilities to the site as well as drainage. The design team and end-user worked closely with the developer to coordinate and schedule the construction of the utilities to the site. In addition to the utilities needing to be extended to the site, a new portion of the four-lane crossroad had to be constructed to grant access to the school front.

In order to meet the district’s need to have the school open by the 2005-2006 school year, the decision was made by the project team to issue the project in two separate packages. The first package consisted of a site-work and infrastructure package consisting of the four-lane cross-road, detention pond and construction of the building pads for the central plant and high school/ninth grade center. The second package consisted of the high school and ninth grade center buildings, athletic complex, central plant and remaining site-work. The campus was also master-planned to include a future junior high school that will operate off of the central plant.

Seven Lakes High School is designed based on the concepts used in the design of the previous two high schools, however, there are some relatively major changes in the design of the overall look of the campus, the library design, as well as conceptual changes related to the science program. The high school contains the following spaces:
■  Basic Classrooms     
■  Field House   
■  Science Labs     
■  Indoor Natatorium
■  (3) Gymnasiums w/ Locker & Dressing Rooms 
■  Cafeteria 
■  Library      
■  Vocational Classrooms 
■  Fine Arts Suite     
■  Art Rooms 
■  Band Hall      
■  Choir Rooms 
■  900-seat Auditorium    
■  Black Box Theater

The Ninth Grade Center consists of its own classrooms and science labs, separate gymnasium with locker and dressing rooms, as well as its own administrative suite.

Organization of the large high school and ninth grade center plan is simplified by positioning all educational spaces around a centralized, main “mall” spine that runs the entire length of the building. This creates a simple system of egress and access to the various classrooms and departments. The school is divided into two main wings that feed off of a central rotunda. This rotunda acts as a hinge – tying the relatively large facility together and acting as the heart of the campus.

To follow along the key theme of the high school, modern, innovative technology was incorporated throughout the facility. Student and teacher workstations are present in every classroom and seven computer labs offer state-of-the-art computer and software technology. Educational programs integrated the contemporary equipment in everyday classroom experiences. For example, the Industry Technology program offers a Health Occupations and Technology Lab, enabling students to be one step ahead of modern technology.

The facility was constructed using the Competitive Sealed Proposal delivery method. It incorporates durable, cost-effective materials throughout to be maintenance-friendly and help reduce the overall life cycle costs. Day-lighting is introduced to the building through solar shaded, insulated skylight systems located in the main mall. The exterior skin of the building consists of brick masonry and anodized aluminum curtain wall systems.

Although a modified repeat, Seven Lakes High School and Ninth Grade Center exudes individual character and innovation. Through many challenges and obstacles, the end-users and design professionals executed a plan that raises the bar for future educational facilities in the Katy Independent School District.


Project Description:
1) Control of Institution: Public
2) Type of Institution: Traditional
6) Community: Designed for Community Functions


Methodology & Standards:
District/Institution Decision; First-Cost; Life-cycle Costs; Prototype Design; State Standards PLUS

Funding Method(s):
Primary Source: Primary Source: Revenue Bonds

Project Delivery Method(s):

Sustainable/Green Design:
Water Conservation: Water Conservation
Energy Efficiency and Conservation: Energy Efficiency; Building Automation/Energy Management Systems
Materials Use: Sustainable Materials Selection
Indoor Environmental Quality: Use of Daylighting; Acoustics


  • PBK
    Eric Smith, AIA
    111 Greenway Plaza
    Floor 22
    Houston, TX 77046

Associated Firms and Consultants:
Educational Planning: PBK
Interior Design: PBK
Landscape Architecture: Mary L. Goldsby and Associates
General Contractor: Gilbane Building Company
Structural Engineer: Jones/Borne
Electrical Engineer: CHPA
Mechanical Engineer: CHPA
Civil Engineer: Brooks and Sparks
Acoustical Consultant: Hoover and Keith
Technology Consultant: CHPA
Safety Consultant: PBK Technology Division
Theater Consultant: Starr Tek
Food Service/Kitchen Consultant: Frank Clements & Associates
Other: Lamb & Barger Consulting Engineers (Athletic Fields); Shah Smith & Associates (Central Plant); Thomas Aquatics (Pool Consultant)

Area Map:

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